Canadian broadcasting and media company Blue Ant Media has commissioned Toronto-based Cream Productions (Age of Samurai, Story of Late Night) to produce the two-part horror documentary special Bathsheba.
The 2 x 60-minute films will venture back to 1970s New England to tell the true story that inspired James Wan’s supernatural horror film The Conjuring. Cameras will chart the encounters between renowned paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren, and the 19th-century ghost Bathsheba Sherman, who has allegedly haunted generations of families that have taken residence within her remote Massachusetts grounds.
Bathsheba will serve both as a historical and contemporary story that will combine interviews with local historians, cast and crew from The Conjuring, and the farmhouse’s current owners to “shed light on the malevolent spirit’s nearly 200-year-long torment.” It will also interweave archival footage together with CGI and “light-illustrative recreations.”
Blue Ant International will distribute the documentary special which will enjoy its premiere on Canadian cable network T+E in Fall 2021.
Bathsheba is helmed by an all-female creative team with Sunny Grewal (History Erased, Story of Late Night) listed as series producer, director and writer; Sasha Pozdeeva serves as production designer; and acclaimed documentary filmmaker Robin Bicknell (Haunted Hospitals) is a consultant and mentor. The all-female crew reflects both Cream and Blue Ant’s commitment to creating training opportunities for women in production, and is in direct response to the entertainment industry’s concerted push to gender parity.
“Women are prime consumers of content, but they’re woefully underrepresented behind the camera,” said Kate Harrison Karman (pictured), president of Cream Productions, in a statement. “With Bathsheba, we are committing to change that narrative by empowering a talented all-female creative team with this story. With Blue Ant Media’s support, we are thrilled to be one of the first with the hope that we won’t be the last.”
“Bathsheba and the Warrens’ account is a particularly petrifying part of supernatural lore and is recognized among the most insidious demonic possessions ever, but Bathsheba unearths a chapter of history you may not know, breathing new life into an old story,” added Samantha Linton, head of original content for Canada at Blue Ant Media. “Often the jump into the series producer role can be challenging for women, so we are happy to put this mentorship structure in place with Cream to provide female creatives the support they need to advance in their careers. That’s how we will have more female leaders in our industry.”
In other Blue Ant Media news, the company has greenlit several new titles across its lifestyle and factual channels for the 2021/22 broadcast schedule, including two co-productions with broadcaster APTN.
The company will premiere three new series for Cottage Life,
one series and for T+E, one series for Love Nature, as well as a special for Smithsonian Channel Canada. The slate is overseen by Sam Linton, Head of Original Content (Canada) at Blue Ant.
The Cottage Life lineup includes APTN co-productions Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet (9 x 30 minutes; working title) and a third season of the APTN series Merchants of the Wild (pictured). Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet is produced by Wapanatahk Media in partnership with Great Pacific Media and follows veterinarian Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith as she treats animals in rural Alberta and learns more about her recently confirmed Métis heritage.
Merchants of the Wild (13 x 30 minutes) is a docuseries produced by Little Bear Big Wolf Pictures and Buck Productions that features six Indigenous adventurers on a survival journey through an ancient waterway trade route. Blue Ant has also acquired the first two seasons of the series for Cottage Life.
The third Cottage Life series is Mysteries from Above (10 x 60 minutes; working title), which is produced by Blue Ant-owned prodco Saloon Media and distributed by Blue Ant International. The docuseries uses drones to film hard-to-reach locations and offer rare footage of structures, landmarks, creatures and lost civilizations. All three series are set to premiere in spring 2022.
Eyewitness: UFO (8 x 60 minutes; working title) is a brand new commission for T+E, produced by Saloon Media. Set to premiere in summer 2021, the series shares modern-day accounts of UFO sightings with cell phone footage and first-hand accounts.
Battle of the Alphas (12 x 30 minutes) has been commissioned for the Love Nature channel for an early 2022 premiere. Produced by Yap Films and distributed by Blue Ant International, the series looks at the science behind animal conflicts, from babies fighting over mother’s milk to adult territorial battles. Meanwhile, the one-hour special Treasures from the Maya, produced by Zoot Pictures, will premiere on Smithsonian Channel Canada in spring 2022. The special uses LiDAR laser imaging to depict the ancient Maya civilization as it stood centuries ago.
Mysteries from Above, Eyewitness: UFO, Bathsheba and Battle of the Alphas will all have world broadcast premieres on their respective channels.
With files from Playback Daily’s Kelly Townsend